Prime / Stability / Cycling Questions

FishguyAU

Hello all, a bit new to all this so any advice would be appreciated. 2 weeks ago I bought a bottle of Prime and Stability to cycle my new tank. For the first week I added Stability as indicated on the bottle. I didn't add any additional ammonia source except for plants. A week later I went to my aquarium and they said I should have treated the water with Prime before adding stability and that I needed to add an extra source of ammonia. Rookie error. So I added Prime to my tank and added 2 ppm of liquid ammonia. I've been dosing stability again for a week now but my ammonia stays constant and no trace of nitrites or nitrates after 1 week. My questions are, should I continue to add stability past the 7 day mark? Should I empty my tank and start again? Or is this just normal and I should stop adding additional Stability and give the tank time for the bacteria to grow and wait for nitrites to appear? Many thanks!
 

Azedenkae

Hello all, a bit new to all this so any advice would be appreciated. 2 weeks ago I bought a bottle of Prime and Stability to cycle my new tank. For the first week I added Stability as indicated on the bottle. I didn't add any additional ammonia source except for plants. A week later I went to my aquarium and they said I should have treated the water with Prime before adding stability and that I needed to add an extra source of ammonia. Rookie error. So I added Prime to my tank and added 2 ppm of liquid ammonia. I've been dosing stability again for a week now but my ammonia stays constant and no trace of nitrites or nitrates after 1 week. My questions are, should I continue to add stability past the 7 day mark? Should I empty my tank and start again? Or is this just normal and I should stop adding additional Stability and give the tank time for the bacteria to grow and wait for nitrites to appear? Many thanks!
Hi there!

So, a number of things.
1. Plants are not a source of ammonia, unless they start to decompose. But that's the same as really anything decomposing.
2. Your LFS is correct in saying you should add Prime before dosing Stability. In fact, you should always treat your water with Prime before adding to the tank (some people treat it after, but I prefer before). Unless you know your source of water is devoid of chlorine, chloramine, or whatever else that may kill off your microorganisms and fish and stuff, you need to dechlorinate it (with Prime).
3. Stability is not exactly known to be super fast acting, so a week is not that long. You can keep adding Stability after the seven day mark, it won't harm anything. One option is to just wait it out until the Stability nitrifiers (hopefully) start to become established.
4. There is really never a reason to empty a tank and start again, unless it's extenuating like you accidentally introduced some sort of disease, dumped a bunch of soap into it, etc.
5. I prefer not to suggest buying additional stuff, but I don't think I've actually ever since anyone successfully cycle with Stability... I presume it is possible (related, if you cycled your tank successfully with Stability, please pm me, I'd be keen to hear about it), but anyways may want to try something more proven, like FritzZyme Turbo Start 700.
 
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FishguyAU

Thank you for your reply Azedenkae!

I suggested replacing all the water since I mentioned my issue to my LFS and they thought that maybe by adding the Stability for a week before the Prime I may have disrupted the cycle somehow and that I should start from scratch, but I wasn't convinced so thanks for confirming.

I was hesitant to add Stabilty for more than 7 days as I read that it might be counter productive in getting the cycle started as the old bacteria need to compete with the new bacteria. But I will keep adding Stability for another few days and hopefully I will see the ammonia (currently at 2ppm) drop and some nitrites being formed over the coming week.

I'm in Australia so unable to buy FritzZyme Turbo Start 700 unfortunately. I was considering switching to API Quickstart which is available but my LFS said that they thought Stability was a better product so I'll stick with that for now.

I'll provide an update if I have any success, hopefully soon :)

Hi there!

So, a number of things.
1. Plants are not a source of ammonia, unless they start to decompose. But that's the same as really anything decomposing.
2. Your LFS is correct in saying you should add Prime before dosing Stability. In fact, you should always treat your water with Prime before adding to the tank (some people treat it after, but I prefer before). Unless you know your source of water is devoid of chlorine, chloramine, or whatever else that may kill off your microorganisms and fish and stuff, you need to dechlorinate it (with Prime).
3. Stability is not exactly known to be super fast acting, so a week is not that long. You can keep adding Stability after the seven day mark, it won't harm anything. One option is to just wait it out until the Stability nitrifiers (hopefully) start to become established.
4. There is really never a reason to empty a tank and start again, unless it's extenuating like you accidentally introduced some sort of disease, dumped a bunch of soap into it, etc.
5. I prefer not to suggest buying additional stuff, but I don't think I've actually ever since anyone successfully cycle with Stability... I presume it is possible (related, if you cycled your tank successfully with Stability, please pm me, I'd be keen to hear about it), but anyways may want to try something more proven, like FritzZyme Turbo Start 700.
 
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Azedenkae

Ah yes, I used to live in Australia (up until like six months ago), so totally understand the lack of bottled bac products. >_<"

Re: 'new' bacteria competing against 'old' bacteria, if they are the same type of bacteria, there are some microorganisms that do have a lot of intraspecies competition, but that's not very common, especially with nitrifiers. After all, if there was competition, then really even if you don't dose more Stability, the old bacteria already in the tank would grow to a point where they'd start competing against each other and nitrification would then only reach a certain point which for our practical purposes, is not the case here. So nothing to worry about. ^_^

Good luck with the process!
 
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MacZ

https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...bottled-bacteria-is-best.493877/#post-4931834

Although using bottled bacteria rarely hurts, in my opinion it's neither necessary nor really helping or speeding things up.
Every tank developes a unique microfauna and flora with a certain composition of dozens of bacteria and archea-species anyhow, which may shift and make the species added in the first place disappear again.
So I would invest the money for those products in plants or driftwood instead.
 
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FishguyAU

Thanks Azedenkae and MacZ
So I guess I will try Stability for another week (since it won't hurt) and hope for the best. It's amazing how many positive reviews there are on Amazon saying they cycled their tanks very quickly with Stability though, I may have gotten a bad bottle or it doesn't work for everyone.
I have ammonia at 2ppm and my ph at 6.6 (which is a bit low but I read not to try raise ph while cycling) at the moment so I hope that is ok. I'll keep testing daily for signs of any Nitrite, I guess they have to show up eventually.
 
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MacZ

Thanks Azedenkae and MacZ
So I guess I will try Stability for another week (since it won't hurt) and hope for the best. It's amazing how many positive reviews there are on Amazon saying they cycled their tanks very quickly with Stability though, I may have gotten a bad bottle or it doesn't work for everyone.
I have ammonia at 2ppm and my ph at 6.6 (which is a bit low but I read not to try raise ph while cycling) at the moment so I hope that is ok. I'll keep testing daily for signs of any Nitrite, I guess they have to show up eventually.

I would simply not trust the reviews on Amazon. 5 stars and a "worked great" doesn't say anything. You don't know how long it took to cycle, what happened after the review was posted and the likelyhood beginners come back to the site to hange their review is also low.

pH of 6.6 means the ammonia is present as ammonium. But at that pH also the cycling takes far longer (2-3 months), and it's outside the optimal range of Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter, which all those products are promising to contain (and which long term won't be having a big part in keeping the cycle going at that pH). You definitely don't need Stability then.

What's your KH and GH?
 
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FishguyAU

Thanks Macz,
I haven't tested for KH and GH as I don't have a kit to do that yet. I can get a kit or get it tested at my LFS if it's handy info to have. Would you suggest raising the pH to a certain level to speed up the cycling time?

I would simply not trust the reviews on Amazon. 5 stars and a "worked great" doesn't say anything. You don't know how long it took to cycle, what happened after the review was posted and the likelyhood beginners come back to the site to hange their review is also low.

pH of 6.6 means the ammonia is present as ammonium. But at that pH also the cycling takes far longer (2-3 months), and it's outside the optimal range of Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter, which all those products are promising to contain (and which long term won't be having a big part in keeping the cycle going at that pH). You definitely don't need Stability then.

What's your KH and GH?
 
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MacZ

I haven't tested for KH and GH as I don't have a kit to do that yet. I can get a kit or get it tested at my LFS if it's handy info to have.

It is a really important info in my opinion, as GH is necessary to know for plants and invertebrates, while KH is linked to pH and absolutely necessary to know if you ever want to change pH or use CO2.
Also both are helpful to choose fish according to water parameters.

Would you suggest raising the pH to a certain level to speed up the cycling time?

Not at all, quite the opposite: Don't change anything. Whether cycled in high, low or neutral pH, it first has to be cycled before even thinking about any changes. Otherwise you destabilize the whole system.
I would rather take into account some extra weeks of cycling.
You also don't have the necessary info (KH) yet and the change is not a one-off thing but has to be maintained and monitored.
 
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FishguyAU

Thanks for the information. Ok I will just wait it out then without changing anything, Will post again when something changes, hopefully quicker than 2 to 3 months ;/
 
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MacZ

It is possible that in that pH the step between NH4 (ammonium) and NO3 (Nitrates) is skipped and you will never see NO2 (nitrite), but immediately NO3.
 
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mattgirl

Oh good grief, even fish stores are now convinced one has to have Prime and Stability to cycle a tank. Prime is simply a water conditioner. It plays no role whatsoever in helping cycle a tank. When cycling a tank we can use any water conditioner on the market to remove chlorine from the water. When fish in cycling I do recommend Prime for its ability to detox ammonia but when fishless cycling we don't need the ammonia detoxed.

If you didn't use any kind of water conditioner when you filled the tank up and then added the stability, the chlorine in your water, if you have chlorine in your water, may have killed off the bacteria in the bottle.

No matter which bacteria in a bottle you add it is not going to instantly cycle a tank. They may help speed it up some but it is still going to take time. If you didn't start out with an ammonia source then the cycle didn't actually start until an ammonia source was added so we will start counting from there.

What is the pH level of your tap water? If it is higher than the 6.6 you are seeing in the tank right now simply adding some crushed coral to a media bag and putting it in your filter will raise and stabilize your pH level up to the level of your tap water. As long as it is 7 or above the cycle will move forward.

Get the pH up with some crushed coral. Add enough ammonia to get it up to 2ppm and then just give the cycle time to get started. Don't be surprised or concerned if it take 2 weeks or more for the ammonia to start going down.

Don't mess with anything in the tank. Don't wash any filter media. If you need to top off the water due to evaporation add your water conditioner to the fresh water before pouring it in the tank if you have chlorine/chloramines in your tap water. If you have neither in your tap water this step can be skipped.
 
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FishguyAU

Thanks Macz I would like that to be the case but with Ammonia staying constant and no Nitrates I think the cycle hasn't started yet..


It is possible that in that pH the step between NH4 (ammonium) and NO3 (Nitrates) is skipped and you will never see NO2 (nitrite), but immediately NO3.
 
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Azedenkae

Huh, I totally forgot to mention in my last post lol.

The way I used to cycle tanks in Australia when bottled bac products seem to suck, is to use cycled media from fish stores. Any chance they are willing to sell you some biomedia that is established?
 
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FishguyAU

Thanks, yes I thought of that but I haven't asked. I will today though..


Huh, I totally forgot to mention in my last post lol.

The way I used to cycle tanks in Australia when bottled bac products seem to suck, is to use cycled media from fish stores. Any chance they are willing to sell you some biomedia that is established?
Thanks mattgirl!

The store didn't say I had to use Prime, but since I already had it they said it was essential to treat the water to remove Chlorine and Chloramine :)

I just tested my tap water pH and it is 6.8. In my tank it is 6.6.

I have a Marina Internal Aquarium Filter i160 so I'm not sure if I can fit crushed coral in there. Can I add some bicarb soda to raise the pH to 7?

Oh good grief, even fish stores are now convinced one has to have Prime and Stability to cycle a tank. Prime is simply a water conditioner. It plays no role whatsoever in helping cycle a tank. When cycling a tank we can use any water conditioner on the market to remove chlorine from the water. When fish in cycling I do recommend Prime for its ability to detox ammonia but when fishless cycling we don't need the ammonia detoxed.

If you didn't use any kind of water conditioner when you filled the tank up and then added the stability, the chlorine in your water, if you have chlorine in your water, may have killed off the bacteria in the bottle.

No matter which bacteria in a bottle you add it is not going to instantly cycle a tank. They may help speed it up some but it is still going to take time. If you didn't start out with an ammonia source then the cycle didn't actually start until an ammonia source was added so we will start counting from there.

What is the pH level of your tap water? If it is higher than the 6.6 you are seeing in the tank right now simply adding some crushed coral to a media bag and putting it in your filter will raise and stabilize your pH level up to the level of your tap water. As long as it is 7 or above the cycle will move forward.

Get the pH up with some crushed coral. Add enough ammonia to get it up to 2ppm and then just give the cycle time to get started. Don't be surprised or concerned if it take 2 weeks or more for the ammonia to start going down.

Don't mess with anything in the tank. Don't wash any filter media. If you need to top off the water due to evaporation add your water conditioner to the fresh water before pouring it in the tank if you have chlorine/chloramines in your tap water. If you have neither in your tap water this step can be skipped.
 
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mattgirl

Thanks mattgirl!

The store didn't say I had to use Prime, but since I already had it they said it was essential to treat the water to remove Chlorine and Chloramine :)

I just tested my tap water pH and it is 6.8. In my tank it is 6.6.

I have a Marina Internal Aquarium Filter i160 so I'm not sure if I can fit crushed coral in there. Can I add some bicarb soda to raise the pH to 7?
Gotcha. It seems lots of folks think they have to use Prime with stability. I just wanted to stress, any water conditioner will work to dechlorinate the water. Prime isn't needed to cycle a tank.

If the CC won't fit inside your filter put some in a media bag and hang it where water is running over and through it. It might look a bit out of place but it is possible once the cycle is complete you will no longer need it. Baking soda will work but since I've never used it I can't advise you on how to use it.
 
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MacZ

Thanks Macz I would like that to be the case but with Ammonia staying constant and no Nitrates I think the cycle hasn't started yet..

I am well aware of that, and was referring to the future (next week or the week after).

Baking soda will work but since I've never used it I can't advise you on how to use it.

Please, if you haven't used it yourself, don't even mention it. Baking soda is a stone-age method with far too many downsides for unexperienced beginners.
 
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mattgirl

Please, if you haven't used it yourself, don't even mention it. Baking soda is a stone-age method with far too many downsides for unexperienced beginners.
I only mentioned it because the OP asked about using it. I do agree with you though. I try to discourage its use.
 
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FishguyAU

Thanks all, I have decided to not alter the PH as MacZ advised against it. I still have no ammonia reduction or nitrites/nitrates so just waiting it out and testing daily. I do have a problem though if someone could please offer some advice. I have a Marina i160 Filter, that has 2 internal filter cartridges like these:
Marina Internal Filter Cartridge i110/60X2 Petbarn
Today I discovered that the filter was no longer pumping any water out due to them being clogged with sludge. What should I do? When I remove one the flow is restored. Shall I just change one and then in 2 weeks replace the other one? This is what the instructions say to do, it has been nearly 3 weeks since I started my cycle but I didn't think it would get so dirty without fish and I didn't really want to change them while cycling to avoid losing any BB that are hopefully in them. Many Thanks!

I only mentioned it because the OP asked about using it. I do agree with you though. I try to discourage its use.
 
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mattgirl

Instead of removing and replacing you may want to see if cleaning the sludge off will unclog them. If they have carbon in them you may want to cut a slit in the fiber/fabric and dump it out. It tends to cause the cartridges to clog up quicker than they will without it in there. The carbon really isn't necessary. I've not run any in my tanks for years.
 
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FishguyAU

Thanks mattgirl!
I've been reading that a combination of sponge and ceramic media might be best in the long run, would you agree? Could I simply replace the cartridges with sponge at the bottom and some ceramic media in a mesh bag on top? To not lose any bacteria (if there are any as I am still not seeing any nitrites or ammonia reduction) from the old cartridges I was thinking of cutting up the fabric from the cartridge and wedging it in between the sponge and ceramic media bag so they could be transferred and not lost. I hope this doesn't stuff up my cycle too much, but if I'm going to change filter media I thought it was best to do it sooner rather than later :)
Thanks again!

Instead of removing and replacing you may want to see if cleaning the sludge off will unclog them. If they have carbon in them you may want to cut a slit in the fiber/fabric and dump it out. It tends to cause the cartridges to clog up quicker than they will without it in there. The carbon really isn't necessary. I've not run any in my tanks for years.
 
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mattgirl

Thanks mattgirl!
I've been reading that a combination of sponge and ceramic media might be best in the long run, would you agree? Could I simply replace the cartridges with sponge at the bottom and some ceramic media in a mesh bag on top? To not lose any bacteria (if there are any as I am still not seeing any nitrites or ammonia reduction) from the old cartridges I was thinking of cutting up the fabric from the cartridge and wedging it in between the sponge and ceramic media bag so they could be transferred and not lost. I hope this doesn't stuff up my cycle too much, but if I'm going to change filter media I thought it was best to do it sooner rather than later :)
Thanks again!
That sounds like a very good plan. The sooner you get away from the cartridges the better it will be.
 
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FishguyAU

Hi mattgirl, would you suggest waiting until I'm fully cycled before changing cartridges for sponge/ceramic media or do it now? Thanks!
Thanks mattgirl! Would you hold off in making these filter changes until after cycling or ok to do now as long as I cut out the dirty fabric part of the cartridge and put it under the matrix rocks and top of the sponge? I was also wondering why the filter would get so clogged and dirty without having any fish in the tank? All I have is a few plants and a piece of driftwood. The driftwood has had a lot of white slime growing on it so I assume it is this that is the filter to become so dirty so soon?

That sounds like a very good plan. The sooner you get away from the cartridges the better it will be.
 
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mattgirl

As long as you keep the fabric/fiber part of the cartridge I don't think it would be a problem doing it now 'specially if the cartridge is getting clogged up. The driftwood could be why it is getting so bad so quickly.
 
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FishguyAU

Thanks Mattgirl, I made the filter modifications a few days ago so still just waiting for ammonia to drop and nitrites to appear. I'm actually thinking of raising the PH to 7 as I don't want it to take up to 3 months as was previously suggested. I'm finding it hard to find crushed coral locally, but I can get coral bones or coral sand. Would either of these work or better to try harder to find the crushed coral?
I haven't done any water changes since starting my tank a month ago, is that ok?
I have ammonia at a steady 2ppm and after reading one of your other posts I have began to ghost feed every other day to see if that helps.


As long as you keep the fabric/fiber part of the cartridge I don't think it would be a problem doing it now 'specially if the cartridge is getting clogged up. The driftwood could be why it is getting so bad so quickly.
 
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mattgirl

Aragonite is coral crushed to almost a sand texture so I am wondering when you say coral sand it it is aragonite and if so can you get it. Crushed oyster shells or limestone would work to if you could source either of those. If you can get and keep the pH up to at least 7 your cycle will progress better.

If the same water has been in there for a month I would go ahead and change out at least half of it.
 
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FishguyAU

Thanks again mattgirl! I visited another shop and was able to purchase some crushed coral :) Do you know how much I should add to my 87L tank (23 gal) (Current pH is 6.6)? I thought I read somewhere not to do water changes during cycling? Do you recommend it because all the minerals in the water would have disappeared now? I'm still adding the Stability daily and my Ammonia is at 2ppm.
Also since my tap water is at 6.6 pH, when one day I hopefully have fish won't there be a pH change due to the new water coming in weekly, and wouldn't that harm the fish?
UPDATE:
I just did a 50% water change, I am not going to go by what other people say or have read since I trust you if you say it :) I will re-dose ammonia to 2ppm, add Stability and wait for the magic to hopefully happen. I am still not sure how much crushed coral to put though so when you have a minute I would appreciate it. Thanks again!
I also just tested my Kh and GH and Kh is 3 and Gh is 53.7. Not sure how to interpret these results but they do seem on the low side.
 
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MacZ

I also just tested my Kh and GH and Kh is 3 and Gh is 53.7. Not sure how to interpret these results but they do seem on the low side.

I assume the units are ppm?
Did you compare these readings to your tap?

Also I just realised nobody asked what substrate is in the tank. Depending on what is used it might explain the readings for KH and pH.
 
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mattgirl

Thanks again mattgirl! I visited another shop and was able to purchase some crushed coral :) Do you know how much I should add to my 87L tank (23 gal) (Current pH is 6.6)? I thought I read somewhere not to do water changes during cycling? Do you recommend it because all the minerals in the water would have disappeared now? I'm still adding the Stability daily and my Ammonia is at 2ppm.
Also since my tap water is at 6.6 pH, when one day I hopefully have fish won't there be a pH change due to the new water coming in weekly, and wouldn't that harm the fish?
UPDATE:
I just did a 50% water change, I am not going to go by what other people say or have read since I trust you if you say it :) I will re-dose ammonia to 2ppm, add Stability and wait for the magic to hopefully happen. I am still not sure how much crushed coral to put though so when you have a minute I would appreciate it. Thanks again!
I also just tested my Kh and GH and Kh is 3 and Gh is 53.7. Not sure how to interpret these results but they do seem on the low side.
I know some folks say not to do water changes while fishless cycling but I do recommend doing them as needed. You are right. The minerals in our tap water will get depleted. The water change will replenish them. They don't need to be done as often as when doing a fish in but it is still good to do a couple of them while fishless cycling. As long as you kinda temp match and add your water conditioner to the water you are replacing doing a water change isn't going to hurt the cycling process.

I would start out with about 1/2 cup of the crushed coral and go from there.You aren't going to add too much so if the 1/2 cup doesn't help add more. If you rinse it first the pH will go up slowly. If you don't rinse it it will happen quicker. Since there are no fish to be affected raising it quickly isn't a problem.

edited to add: I forgot the question about water changes with a low pH water. If you are changing out 50% or less of the water the difference between tank and tap shouldn't raise the pH in the tank enough to cause a problem. I suspect the CC is not going to raise your pH enough to cause a problem with water changes.
 
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FishguyAU

Thanks mattgirl. The half cup of crushed coral worked nicely, pH is up to 7.2 now.
I think I'm doing everything right now so hopefully something happens soon. I'm on day 17 since I started adding ammonia, still no nitrites. If there are still no nitrites after 3 weeks do you think I should take some sort of action and question wether something is not right?

I know some folks say not to do water changes while fishless cycling but I do recommend doing them as needed. You are right. The minerals in our tap water will get depleted. The water change will replenish them. They don't need to be done as often as when doing a fish in but it is still good to do a couple of them while fishless cycling. As long as you kinda temp match and add your water conditioner to the water you are replacing doing a water change isn't going to hurt the cycling process.

I would start out with about 1/2 cup of the crushed coral and go from there.You aren't going to add too much so if the 1/2 cup doesn't help add more. If you rinse it first the pH will go up slowly. If you don't rinse it it will happen quicker. Since there are no fish to be affected raising it quickly isn't a problem.

edited to add: I forgot the question about water changes with a low pH water. If you are changing out 50% or less of the water the difference between tank and tap shouldn't raise the pH in the tank enough to cause a problem. I suspect the CC is not going to raise your pH enough to cause a problem with water changes.
Hi Macz, I don't have tap results as I tested my tank water at my LFS. I am planning on getting my own kh and gh test kit though. The units are 3dKH and 53.7ppm GH. Basically took 3 drops of each solution to change color for both tests and that's what I interpret from the table.
My substrate is gravel.

I assume the units are ppm?
Did you compare these readings to your tap?

Also I just realised nobody asked what substrate is in the tank. Depending on what is used it might explain the readings for KH and pH.
 
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mattgirl

Thanks mattgirl. The half cup of crushed coral worked nicely, pH is up to 7.2 now.
I think I'm doing everything right now so hopefully something happens soon. I'm on day 17 since I started adding ammonia, still no nitrites. If there are still no nitrites after 3 weeks do you think I should take some sort of action and question wether something is not right?
That is good news. I wouldn't start getting concerned for a while longer. I do think now that the pH is up things will run much smoother. It isn't unusual at all for it to take a full 3 weeks for the nitrites to show up. Have you added any kind of bottled bacteria? Some folks seem to skip the nitrite spike when they have added it.
 
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FishguyAU

Yes I've been adding Stability daily. I haven't tested for nitrates yet as I was waiting for ammonia reduction first. Thanks I'll just monitor ammonia for another week and hope for the best.

That is good news. I wouldn't start getting concerned for a while longer. I do think now that the pH is up things will run much smoother. It isn't unusual at all for it to take a full 3 weeks for the nitrites to show up. Have you added any kind of bottled bacteria? Some folks seem to skip the nitrite spike when they have added it.
 
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mattgirl

Yes I've been adding Stability daily. I haven't tested for nitrates yet as I was waiting for ammonia reduction first. Thanks I'll just monitor ammonia for another week and hope for the best.
Right, I had forgotten about the Stability. To be perfectly honest with you. I would stop adding it. If it was going to help it would have done so by now.

I know we have been waiting for nitrites to show up but if you've not done so go ahead and run the nitrate test on your tap water. It seems lots of folks do have some in their tap water and then are disappointed when they run the test on the tank and get excited until they find the nitrates have been there all along because they are in the tap water.

I just read back through the thread and read at one point you were seeing zero reading for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates so am thinking you have no nitrates in your source water. I do have to ask though. Are you 100% positive you are running the nitrate test exactly as instructed. Are you shaking bottle #2 like your life depended on it? Once you have added drops from each of the 2 bottles are you shaking the test tube for a full minute and then waiting another 5 minutes for the color to develop?

I know the instructions don't specifically say it but it is a good idea to shake all the various bottles before using them. I think we get more accurate results if we do so.

It is always a good idea the run all the test on our tap water so we have a baseline of where we started.

All we can do at this point is give the bacteria more time. Now that the pH is up above 7 I suspect things will finally start moving forward.
 
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FishguyAU

Thanks mattgirl, I'll stop adding the Stability from today. I added a pinch of fish food yesterday. I haven't tested for nitrites as the ammonia is still at 2pm and zero nitrites, so didn't think there was much point. . I may consider getting API quick start if it continues for another week. I know that can be hit and miss too but i just want to give it every chance of cycling. I also know that a full cycle can take a couple of months but if I don't see nitrites after a month I'll start to think something isn't right.

Right, I had forgotten about the Stability. To be perfectly honest with you. I would stop adding it. If it was going to help it would have done so by now.

I know we have been waiting for nitrites to show up but if you've not done so go ahead and run the nitrate test on your tap water. It seems lots of folks do have some in their tap water and then are disappointed when they run the test on the tank and get excited until they find the nitrates have been there all along because they are in the tap water.

I just read back through the thread and read at one point you were seeing zero reading for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates so am thinking you have no nitrates in your source water. I do have to ask though. Are you 100% positive you are running the nitrate test exactly as instructed. Are you shaking bottle #2 like your life depended on it? Once you have added drops from each of the 2 bottles are you shaking the test tube for a full minute and then waiting another 5 minutes for the color to develop?

I know the instructions don't specifically say it but it is a good idea to shake all the various bottles before using them. I think we get more accurate results if we do so.

It is always a good idea the run all the test on our tap water so we have a baseline of where we started.

All we can do at this point is give the bacteria more time. Now that the pH is up above 7 I suspect things will finally start moving forward.
 
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FishguyAU

I tested nitrates today and still at 0 as expected. After 3 weeks nitrites are 0 and Ammonia still 2 ppm. I've just added a bottle if Dr Tom's, hopefully that kick starts the cycle. I'll know in a few days and I'll report back.

Thanks mattgirl, I'll stop adding the Stability from today. I added a pinch of fish food yesterday. I haven't tested for nitrites as the ammonia is still at 2pm and zero nitrites, so didn't think there was much point. . I may consider getting API quick start if it continues for another week. I know that can be hit and miss too but i just want to give it every chance of cycling. I also know that a full cycle can take a couple of months but if I don't see nitrites after a month I'll start to think something isn't right.
 
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mattgirl

Hopefully Dr. Tim's bacteria will give this cycle the kick in the seat of the pants it needs to get going. I can't only imagine your frustration from seeing no forward motion at all. :(
 
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FishguyAU

Hopefully Dr. Tim's bacteria will give this cycle the kick in the seat of the pants it needs to get going. I can't only imagine your frustration from seeing no forward motion at all. :(
Thanks mattgurl, it's very frustrating after about 5 weeks to not know if anything us going to happen. 5 days after adding Dr Tim's ammonia us still at 2pm and 0 nitrites. I know it can take up to 3 weeks but I've read many people start seeing ammonia reduction in a few days. Im starting to wonder uf it will ever cycle ir what could be wrong. Im going to ny LFS today to get some gravel from their established tanks. Do you suggest i put it inside a bag on my filter, hang it where the water flows out or just sit it in a bag on my existing gravel. This should kick start the cycle quickly I would hope.
 
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FishguyAU

Thanks mattgurl, it's very frustrating after about 5 weeks to not know if anything us going to happen. 5 days after adding Dr Tim's ammonia us still at 2pm and 0 nitrites. I know it can take up to 3 weeks but I've read many people start seeing ammonia reduction in a few days. Im starting to wonder uf it will ever cycle ir what could be wrong. Im going to ny LFS today to get some gravel from their established tanks. Do you suggest i put it inside a bag on my filter, hang it where the water flows out or just sit it in a bag on my existing gravel. This should kick start the cycle quickly I would hope.
Happy to report I see. 25 ppm Nitrites today :) The ammonia looks like it's about 1 ppm. I'm a bit confused if I should wait for the ammonia to go to zero, or should I dose some now to get to 2 ppm? I also bought a couple of established bio balls from my LFS and put them into my filter as i thought that should help my cycle too.
 
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mattgirl

Happy to report I see. 25 ppm Nitrites today :) The ammonia looks like it's about 1 ppm. I'm a bit confused if I should wait for the ammonia to go to zero, or should I dose some now to get to 2 ppm? I also bought a couple of established bio balls from my LFS and put them into my filter as i thought that should help my cycle too.
This is great news. The seeded bio-balls may speed thing up so good job on getting them. I would let the ammonia get closer to zero before adding more.
 
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FishguyAU

Thanks mattgirl, I'm really happy the process has finally started :)
 
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